McAfee targets VMware server virtualization security

Company’s VMware server security suite gets 50 percent discount

In a bid to make it attractive to deploy its security software in virtual machine environments, McAfee Monday disclosed a cut-rate pricing strategy for its server-based software products when used on VMware ESX servers.

Packaged as server security suite called "McAfee Total Protection for Virtualization," McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise, AntiSpyware Enterprise and Host Intrusion Prevention software will be sold by year-end in a bundle that could net customers using VMware servers a 50 percent discount or more compared with traditional server deployment.

"Instead of charging per virtual machine, we'll only be charging per physical machine," says Kenneth Tom, senior product marketing manager for virtualization.

Since McAfee reckons that companies typically install anywhere from six to 12 virtual machines per physical server, buying the Total Protection for Virtualization package would be much less expensive than purchasing the server security software for each virtual machine.

McAfee may have a similar package for other virtual machine servers in the future, including Citrix XenSource and Microsoft Hyper-V, Tom says.

With one exception, the McAfee Total Protection for Virtualization will contain basically the same Windows- and Linux-based security software for malware and intrusion prevention McAfee has on the market today. The one new product is McAfee VirusScan Enterprise for Offline Virtual Images. This server-based product is intended to ensure that malware and patching updates are being made to VMware virtual machine images stored offline.

"These offline images, whether kept for disaster recovery or a testing environment, can fall behind in patches," Tom says.

With the McAfee offline images product, network managers could scan and clean these images without having to bring the images online. Like the rest of the virtualization suite, this would all be controlled through McAfee's existing ePolicy Orchestrator management console.

McAfee acknowledges the next transformation for security in VMware environments is expected to come with the VMsafe technology from VMware, which would give security vendors access to the VMware hypervisor and eliminate the need to run multiple instances of security software to protect each virtual machine.

While VMsafe was announced by VMware last February, McAfee doesn't anticipate the technology being ready to make it into the McAfee Total Protection for Virtualization suite by year-end.

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